Free Research Paper On Leonard DA Vinci: The Father Of Modern Anatomy
Humankind has borne witness to a handful of individuals who transcend the normal boundaries of human genius and artistry. More than the mere expertise of a trained artist or the lofty visions of an earnest philosopher, some individuals seem to be blessed with supernatural capabilities that leave behind legacies that last far beyond their living years. In addition, most of these individuals seem blithely unaware of their gift, instead consumed by the divine impulse within to carry out their desires for progress and discovery. Leonardo da Vinci remains one of these few extraordinary men, whose far-reaching vision and insistent hunger for the ascertainment of knowledge and truth extended to his still-unprecedented research of the human body, cementing his role as the “Father of Anatomy” even centuries after his death.
Nearly 500 years following his death, Leonardo da Vinci’s findings and endeavors continue to marvel the modern medical world with its farseeing and unprecedented nature. Da Vinci’s genius was not limited to the era and technology of his time, and his revolutionary findings “extended beyond the realm of knowledge and technology available in his day” (Monties 477). The breadth of his research and invention is vast beyond compare. His work comprises of nearly “750 anatomical drawings and planned an anatomical atlas of the stages of man from the womb to the tomb” (Bhattacharya and Cathrin 285). He created detailed diagrams of the human heart, which have since inspired the pioneering of new methods of repairing damaged hearts. He drew countless images of the human skeleton and was the first to specify the backbone’s S-shape, while also inspecting spinal stability. Other contributions include meticulous depictions of “bones, ligaments, nerves, muscles and internal organs,  the development of functional anatomy,  spinal reflexes, heart pulsations, and systolic contractions, mechanisms of voice,  classification of muscles, [and] the characterization of the heart muscle and vascular structures” (Toledo-Pereyra 248).
Da Vinci’s remarkable advances in anatomy paved the way for surgeons today. Areas in the field of surgical procedure that had previously been completely unknown were now opened up in such clear detail that its information is still valuable after centuries have passed. Even today, his research has enabled modern day practitioners “to utilize his concepts and ideas on the repair of afflicted organs or the surgical removal of disease” (Toledo-Pereyra 249). “His pioneering research into the brain led him to the discoveries in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology,” all of which continue to leave their print on contemporary colleagues in the medical field (Bhattacharya and Cathrin 284). In addition, he was the first man to correctly illustrate the bones of the hand and face onto paper, and also offered an exceptional representation of the human skull alongside a detailed cross-section visual of the brain. In fact, plastic surgeons use da Vinci’s mold for artistic anatomy as the prime guide for surgical procedures. Using what he called “the divine proportions,” da Vinci drew and measured various faces and shapes to actuate these precise dimensions (Bhattacharya and Cathrin 285). These proportions still comprise the foundation for cosmetic plastic surgery that is practiced today.
Leonardo da Vinci’s attention to the medium of painting to exhibit his scientific and biological discoveries allowed his legacy to be preserved through the livening process of art. Da Vinci firmly believed in the incomparable medium of painting, and that “being based on the noblest sense of vision, [it was] superior to all the other arts,” particularly poetry and its relationship to the weaker sense of hearing (Azzolini 125). For da Vinci, vision was paramount in demonstrating divine intelligence and the inner-workings of the soul. While his contenders argued against the evanescent and disreputable nature of pictures in comparison to words, “Leonardo cleverly attempted to ground his argument in the natural philosophical principles of optics and human physiology” (Azzolini 128). On the one hand, da Vinci was a scientist and student of human anatomy. On the other hand, however, he was also a transcendent artist fashioning brilliant canvasses. At a time when nobody else was performing critical examinations of human corpses, da Vinci was dissecting 30 dead specimens at a time, immersing himself in the practice he believed would be the best means of determining the framework of the human body. The “anatomist in his post-mortem dissection laboratory” was therefore simultaneously the artist who “breathed life into the inert anatomical form” (Toledo-Pereyra 247). Moving beyond merely cognitive-based research, da Vinci was sourced by divine inspiration to display his discoveries through the compelling mediums of drawing and painting, thus inspiring not only the cerebral but also the spiritual.
While every individual is born with a purpose and a gift to offer to the world, some men are endowed with exceptional qualities which render their research and invention continually indispensible for generations to come. The true mark of da Vinci’s divine gift was that, during his final inspection of his work, he commented: “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have” (Bhattacharya and Cathrin 285). This pioneering visionary’s genius was matched only by his humility. Even hundreds of years after his death, the irreplaceable contributions of the “Father of Anatomy” continue to solidify his position as one of the most influential men in the field of anatomy and physiology, affecting the practice of doctors and surgeons to this day.
Bhattacharya, Kaushik, and Neela A. Cathrin. Da Vinci's Code for Surgeons. Chennel: Medknow
Publications on Behalf of Association of Surgeons of India, 2006. Print.
Azzolini, Monica. “Anatomy of a Dispute: Leonardo, Pacioli and Scientific Courtly
Entertainment in Renaissance Milan.” Early Science and Medicine: 115-35. Print.
Monties, Jean-Raoul. “Leonardo Da Vinci: Precursor Member of the International Society for
Rotary Blood Pumps?” Artificial Organs (1999): 477-79. Print.
Toledo-Pereyra, Luis H. “Leonardo Da Vinci: The Hidden Father Of Modern Anatomy.” Journal
of Investigative Surgery (2002): 247-49. Print.
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